Congratulations to Laura Kelly and Christie Esparza (numbers 9 and 18), the two winners of this giveaway! Thank you to everyone for the advice you shared for parents learning Spanish with their children. There are lots of great suggestions. And as always, thanks for reading and participating on Spanish Playground!
We are giving away two copies of 52 Weeks of Family Spanish to Spanish Playground readers. To be eligible to win, leave a comment here and/or on the Facebook post about this article. Advice for parents who want to learn Spanish with their children would be great, but the comment can be anything related to language learning. Please be sure I can message you if you comment on Facebook!
The deadline to enter is midnight (central), Tuesday October 2. The winners will be chosen using random.org and announced on Wednesday, October 3.
Elieen McAree, author of 52 Weeks of Family Spanish, shares her experiences learning Spanish with her children in this guest post.
I had four young children when I decided to learn to speak Spanish. My rationale was that I would be a more marketable teacher when I returned to the workforce with a second language under my belt. So with my pencils sharpened and a fresh new textbook ready to be tackled, I began my Spanish classes. They started off with a bang. All that studying I did in high school and college? It seemed that it was still stored somewhere in my brain and came flowing out during the first few months of class. My Spanish class and the homework that came with it became an enjoyable hobby, not the chore it had been when I was in school. However, it didn’t take long till I hit a bump in my road to fluency. When I looked back on the four years I spent studying Spanish, I couldn’t recall ever speaking it. Studying? Sure. Listening? When necessary. But speaking? Nope. My tongue was learning to navigate foreign vowels and consonants for the first time.
That’s where my kids came in. Like all people learning a foreign language, I was embarrassed of my pronunciation of the Spanish language. To practice, I began taking children’s books written in Spanish out of the library and reading them aloud to my children. I found all my embarrassment melted away when I practiced with my kids. I started Speaking to them on a daily basis, first to practice my pronunciation and later to share the language with them. My goal was to incorporate Spanish into our lives a little at a time, to make my children’s absorption of the language meaningful and memorable. I wanted them to learn Spanish as a way to communicate, not just words on a page to memorize and conjugate.
Here’s what I learned:
- Kids love using a second language. They are eager and willing to try out new words and phrases. Without being told, they will apply vocabulary to different situations. This is when learning really occurs.
- Less is more. In a busy family, teaching your children a couple words or phrases a week is a big accomplishment. It all adds up over time and the children will retain what they have learned if they are given time to use it.
- Learning Spanish is a lot more fun nowadays. There is so much available on the Internet, it is easy to make learning fun and engaging. Music, videos and games are all available for free, as well as traditional flashcards, worksheets and other study aids.
- People are kind. Once you screw up your courage and try speaking to a native Spanish speaker you will see it’s not as bad as you think. You don’t sound foolish to them. You sound like you are learning!
I hope my book encourages other people to give learning a second language a try. I am still far from fluent, and my kids are still learning. However, we continue to learn and practice together and if someone asks us, “Do you speak Spanish?” we can honestly answer, “Yes, we do!”
You may also be interested in the Spanish Playground review of this book: Spanish for Children – 52 Weeks of Family Spanish